McVitie’s Digestives Give Teatime Crunch!

Teatime with McVitie’s Digestives is a crunchy affair (unless you dunk, that is). Bite, crunch, gulp, sip — that’s my teatime melody. Some of these round, crispy crackers (or are they cookies?) are plain while some are topped with either milk chocolate or dark chocolate. Yum! Crunchy delight and chocolaty goodness combined in one tasty morsel.

Why are these crackers/cookies called “digestives”? They contain a higher amount of baking soda than usual for a baked item their size, and the baking soda was thought to aid digestion (they also contain a lot of whole grain wheat — fiber galore).

In 1892, Alexander Grant, a young employee of McVitie & Price, Ltd. (founded in 1830 in Edinburgh, Scotland), came up with the original recipe. (The chocolate version didn’t come out until 33 years later in 1925 — what took them so long?) These digestives and other McVitie products are now made in five locations in Britain. That’s over 100 years of crunchy, healthy, teatime goodness.

So, why did people love these digestives? As foods became more refined over the years and raw fruits, veggies, and other fiber-laden foods became scarcer on the dining table, people needed something to keep their digestion working properly. Wheatmeal and baking soda to the rescue!

Wheatmeal is a coarse, brown flour made from whole grain wheat. It has nutrients and fiber that keep your machinery humming. McVitie’s Digestives are 45% wheatmeal goodness, according to the package label. Having digestives at teatime combines this goodness with the health benefits of tea, and people who added these digestives to their teatime started to see improvement in their overall well-being, not to mention more musical teatimes — bite, crunch, gulp, sip! As for the baking soda, the jury is still out on its effectiveness, but it can’t hurt the average consumer.

Try the plain digestives with cheese and/or jam. Add some fresh fruit or veggies to the menu. Steep up a pot of Oolong or green tea. Ta da! You have a healthy and very flavorful teatime. Make things even healthier with McVitie’s low sodium and low saturated fat digestives.

Today, McVitie’s Digestives are enjoyed by the tonful in the United Kingdom. They average 71 million packets (not individual digestives) every year. That’s about 52 packets, or about 936 digestives, per second — wow, I can hear them crunching from my deck! Not really, but that is definitely a lot of crunching at teatime.

Try some with your next teatime. If the crunching gets to be too much for you, try dunking them. Don’t dunk too long, though, since they absorb liquid quickly, unlike other typical teatime treats like biscotti, and will end up dropping off clumps in your tea cup. You can always gulp down the tea and spoon up the soggy bits at the bottom — sort of an after-treat. Enjoy!

There’s always something interesting to read over on A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill!

10 thoughts on “McVitie’s Digestives Give Teatime Crunch!

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  10. Victoria

    Very rare to find McVities digestives in western US. My family loved getting packages from relatives in England with the chocolate covered digestive biscuits that Mom would dole out sparingly. Wish I had some now!

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